Spectators and participants galore at 78th County Longford Ploughing Championships

“Work hand and foot, work Loy in hand,

“Work hand and foot, work Loy in hand,

The blessed fruit that grows from the root is the real gold of Ireland

God be with the tool that once helped to feed our nation as well” - Turn Up the Brown O’Man Who Ploughs.

Well, they came, they saw and they conquered; from all corners of the country, from Donegal to Wexford and from Galway to Louth and Monaghan. Ploughmen and women, enthusiasts, experts, spectators, business owners and cattle dealers all descended on the site in Lisaniskey, Ballymahon to witness and compete in one of the most successful County Longford Ploughing Championships, the 78th annual event, sponsored by Kepak, which took place last Sunday.

While the weather wasn’t the most suitable, the rain did hold off until at least half way through the day, providing competitors with an opportunity to battle it out on the fields with some of the best ploughing skills evident by the end of day.

Chairman, National Ploughing Championships, James Sutton who was special guest on the day said that it had been a pleasure for him to “attend the Longford Ploughing Championships” and he paid tribute to all those who worked together to bring it to fruition.

“Longford Ploughing is one of the highlights of the agricultural calendar in the midlands,” he added. “It’s a great show and events like this don’t take place without the effort and commitment of so many people. It is a wonderful occasion, a great family day out. These are difficult economic times and it is great to see the sponsors sticking by the County Longford Ploughing Association (LPA).”

Ulster/North Leinster Vice President John Waters also spoke during the official opening which was followed by a special blessing by Fr McGowan and Rev Kingston.

“Pleasure to be here at the Longford Ploughing; it is a fine show and this is an excellent site that the Mulvihill family have provided,” Mr Waters explained. “The IFA has major concerns about the Single Farm Payment (SFP) at present as it is coming up for review and the organisation has worked extremely hard to defend it. Last week, the Minister (Simon Coveney) talked about cuts of 15 percent and 30 percent with regard to the ‘greening measure’. For a Minister to come out with that at a time when Ireland is up for EU Presidency is totally unacceptable. Milk and cattle prices will fall – as sure as night is day – and we are going to need our SFP.”

The local IFA vice chief then went on to say that it was imperative that a ‘No’ vote was carried during the upcoming referendum on the Fiscal Treaty, because otherwise “if it’s passed, we could end up paying very dearly for money that we need”[from Europe].

Host, Davis Mulvihill then added, “While I am delighted to host this very special event, it is the LPA that have been the mechanics behind the whole show. It is such a professional organisation and the members have been a pleasure to deal with and there is no doubt that it has been very successful.”

A presentation was then made to Daniel and Sarah Haughey and to Kim and Eric Stewart who won the “Best Float” at the recently held Ballymahon St Patrick’s Day Parade.

“Thank you for the beauty in nature, and the soil; the source of all growth”, Rev Kingston and Fr McGowan said during the blessing. God speed the Plough!

Results in next week’s

Longford Leader.